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Expert’s Voice: Your free guide on what guests purchased in hotels last year

by | 21 Feb 2020 | Experts

GuestJoy reviewed a year’s worth of hotel upsell data from 25 countries across the globe. (Photo by Tim Photoguy on Unsplash)

GuestJoy reviewed a year’s worth of hotel upsell data from 25 countries across the globe from nearly 1,000 properties, to see where the most demand was from guests. Here are the results…

Upselling is a must if you would like to provide your guests with that little bit extra that will make them prefer your hotel to Airbnb and other short-stay apartments. It also generates extra revenue, so when you do it well, it’s a win-win.

There are countless articles on the art of upselling, but what does actual data show us? GuestJoy reviewed a year’s worth of upsell data from 25 countries across the globe from nearly 1000 hotels, to see where the most demand was from guests.

The results show us what guests buy; when they buy it; and in what quantities, to present you with an accurate picture of what actually sells in hotels throughout the year.

2019 All hotels, all regions

Wellness offers, such as spa treatments, massages, and so on were generally the most popular with guests, accounting for 20.4% of all services sold.

However, not all hotels have wellness options to offer, so we can safely say the best selling item is room upgrades, making up 20.2% of all items sold. Taxi services made up 18% and restaurant 16% of all purchases.

What makes the most money? Wellness made up almost a third of all revenue earned in 2019. Room upgrades came in second, generating 23.8%, and Restaurants were a close third with 17.5%. Taxi would make a bit less than a fifth of all ancillary revenue, however, it is a tricky statistic to measure, given that the bulk of that revenue often goes to a third party, and a small amount goes to the hotel.

The easiest way to upsell is to provide room upgrades. The rooms are present, no need additional arrangements, while they also have the highest margin.

In terms of seasonality, there is a clear difference in the purchasing pattern of guests for each season of the year. During summer, room upgrades sell 4% more, and restaurant offers do 6% better than throughout the rest of the year. Taxi and room service is also a bit more popular, while wellness offers are not as frequently ordered.

What doesn’t sell?

Flowers, children’s activities, and car & bike rental coupled together accounted only for 1.2% of all things sold. In fact, the data for flowers and rentals was omitted from the above graph because the share was so low that it would show as 0 at that scale.

Why do flowers not work anymore? Well, it is a grand gesture, but just as minibars, flowers are thing of the past. The guest can’t always take them with them when they leave, and in the end its just a bunch of plants dying right in front of them (and it’s bad for the planet!).

Guests want experiences, not just products. Experiences are what can make their journey that much better.

You can read more about selling experiences here, here, and here.

Small Hotels, Apartments and Boutique Hotels (max 59 Rooms)

There are some differences regarding the guests of small hotels. We can see that the guests of small hotels are looking for more comfort (not having to walk/use public transport when on holidays), and getting a bigger and better room. Beyond that, they order anything consumable – food and beverage offers.

Guests of smaller hotels like to purchase taxi services the most, with that category making up almost half of all purchases (45%). The second-most purchased offer were room upgrades, however, it’s only 14% of all things sold. Third prize went to restaurant offers, but beverage followed it very closely.

While we can see that taxi offers sell the most, generally speaking, they are a very low-profit offer. So, as a GM from a small hotel, apartment or boutique hotel, we suggest you focus on room upgrades and food & beverage offers – on these you will easily earn more.

Regarding seasonality, taxi offers peak during spring, and drop off somewhat later in summer to early autumn. Other than that, there were no significant changes in seasonal purchase behaviour.

Medium-sized hotels (60-100 rooms)

There are not many noteworthy differences in the purchasing behaviour of middle-sized hotel’s guests compared to the average consumption of all hotel-goers. However, it is important to point out that taxi services are not as significant as for smaller hotels. It is only the fourth-most popular item after room upgrades, restaurant, and wellness offers, which make up the majority of orders in these hotels.

What doesn’t sell?

Car & bike rental and children’s services did not perform well throughout the year with only 50 orders for either flowers and children’s services, and a solitary car or bike rental. As for seasonality, during the summer room upgrades sold a lot better, and restaurant sales were slightly up on the yearly average. Wellness sold significantly less than during winter.

Autumn made guests hungry; restaurant offers were the most popular, making up more than a quarter of all offers sold. Wellness offers sold best during winter, accounting to a third of all services purchased. In spring, people go for wellness and beverage. Conversely, restaurant dropped sharply, and room upgrade saw a slight decrease.

Large hotels (100+ rooms)

For the customers of large hotels, room upgrades and wellness offers were the most appealing, accounting for almost half of all purchases in 2019. Taxi services were a lot less popular than in smaller properties. Restaurant offers accounted for less than a fifth of all sales, making them a bit less popular than in small and medium-sized hotels.

Seasonality in large hotels also affected what guests bought and ordered. During winter (December – February), guests preferred wellness offers, which made up more than a third of all services sold. Taxi offers accounted for 20%, and room upgrades followed with just a bit less.

During spring, wellness was still very popular, while restaurant and room upgrade offers were purchased more than average. In June, July and August guests were keen on room upgrades, which made a third of all purchases. Wellness offers were still popular, while taxi offers didn’t fare so well during summer.

Autumn is the time for eating! Restaurant offers were the most popular, followed by room upgrades and wellness. Taxi and beverage performed well also, it seemed people liked to stay comfortable during autumn, pampering themselves with various indulgences.

In other words, taxi services were very popular among the guests of large hotels from September to February, whereas it hardly sold during summer. We can take from this that guests heavily favoured avoiding the elements during the colder months! Wellness sells best during the winter, while room upgrades sold best throughout summer. Restaurant offers performed best during autumn, and least during winter.

In winter, wellness offers made up more than a third of all services sold, while during the summer it was room upgrades, with a share of 28%.

Beverage offers consistently made up 9% of all sales throughout the year. Room service is at a low with 5% of all sales, however, during the summer it is slightly more popular with 7%.

While large hotels did sell slightly more of children’s offers, car & bike rentals, and flowers, these offers are still the lowest-performing ones, thus they are omitted from the graph above. The reason behind why they sold a bit better is because larger hotels have the capacity to host fun children’s events, or even dedicated activities or daycare.

Flora Keresztely

Flora Keresztely

GuestJoy's content marketing master

Flora helps hotels increase revenue and obtain a better position on TripAdvisor.

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